Getting around in Singapore is a breeze, as it’s a relatively compact country with an efficient public transport system. However, to save time, some individuals choose to buy a new car instead of riding the MRT, and in 2019 there were over 550,000 privately-owned cars in the country. Expats who are always on the go may also be better off owning a vehicle instead of doing daily commutes. But since buying a brand new car is a significant investment, certain factors need to be considered to ensure that you’re getting the right car for your needs. With that in mind, here is the expat’s guide to buying a car in Singapore.

Moving Overseas as an Expat

Do your research

Purchasing a new car involves more than just picking a model and color. To get the most value for your money, you need to choose a car based on dependability and performance scores. These ratings come from actual consumer driving experience during the first 90 days of ownership, so you can expect a fairly accurate review. If you’re on a budget, you’ll also need to factor in vehicle costs, as well as the car’s fuel tank capacity. Keep in mind that spending doesn’t stop once you purchase your car: you’ll also need to factor in your fuel costs on a daily basis. Generally, the smaller the vehicle, the less gas it consumes, so if you don’t want your car purchase to have a negative impact on your daily budget, you may be better off getting a compact model instead of a huge SUV for driving around Singapore.

Don’t want to stand out? Pick a vehicle from Singapore’s most popular brands

Luxury cars are a common sight in Singapore, and on an ordinary day you can see Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the like on the city streets. But if you don’t want your vehicle to stand out too much, then pick a car from one of the most popular car brands in Singapore. The current best-selling brands include Toyota, Hyundai and Honda, and all three car manufacturers carry fuel-efficient and compact models that are fit to drive on even the smallest roads in the outskirts of the city.

Don’t forget to get insurance

Apart from getting a driver’s licence, expats who wish to drive in The Lion City should also get car insurance so they’re covered in case of an accident. It may be tempting to get the cheapest policy available, but there are risks involved when doing so. By settling for the most inexpensive policy, you may be at risk of getting inadequate or incomplete coverage, so make sure to select the best value instead of getting one for its low price. Also, if you haven’t had a driving incident during your stay, remember to take advantage of your No Claims Discounts, which go as high as 50 percent in Singapore.

Having your own car opens up a world of adventure during your stay in Singapore, and it also makes your daily commute more convenient. Remember to do your research before making a purchase, consider your budget, and always abide by the country’s traffic rules to stay safe while on the road.


Expat Bloggers Sally Jackson is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

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